Bloomberg –  HSBC’s China Game Plan Clashes With Rising Political Risks 
October 10, 2023
Press
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HSBC Holdings Plc’s current predicament as it navigates delicate diplomatic relations amidst its deepening involvement with China. Sherard Cowper-Coles, the head of public affairs, faces scrutiny and an expected departure after his candid remarks regarding the UK’s handling of relations with Beijing. His comments, perceived as aligning with the US, underscore HSBC’s growing engagement with China, exemplified by recent acquisitions despite economic challenges and US-China tensions. However, HSBC’s stance towards China faces challenges, particularly with intensified scrutiny from US Congress and backlash in the UK. Despite efforts to ease tensions and support China-related initiatives, HSBC risks alienating lawmakers critical of its ties with Beijing, especially amid concerns over human rights and national security. Chairman Mark Tucker’s sympathetic stance towards improving UK-China relations echoes Cowper-Coles’ views but draws criticism from some quarters. The article suggests that HSBC’s delicate balancing act between Western and Asian interests is increasingly pressured by geopolitical tensions, potentially prompting a shift towards prioritizing growth in Asia over Western ties.

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